All Saints edges closer to sale amid administration fear

HIGH street fashion retailer All Saints is set to complete a sale to US private equity house Goode Partners by the end of this week, despite fears its creditors could put it into administration.

Sources close to the process said the US firm was “leading the deal” to buy all of the ordinary shares in the company for more than £100m, as part of a consortium of buyers.

But there are suggestions the retailer’s main lender, Lloyds Banking Group, has threatened chief executive Stephen Craig with the liquidation of his firm should the buyout deal fail.

The bank, which provides All Saints with a £28.5m loan facility, was also said to have put KPMG on standby to initiate administration proceedings should talks fail.

Talks are set to continue today between management and bankers over the future of the business.

Craig told City A.M. last night there had been no threat of liquidation, adding that Lloyds had been “fantastic” throughout the sale process.

He said: “It’s been a case study in relationship banking.

“Where we’re at in the transaction is that I believe it will complete this week. If it doesn’t complete this week then, in my view, it’s only because of the Royal Wedding.”

All Saints was put on the block after majority shareholders Kaupthing and Glitnir, the Icelandic banks that collapsed during the financial crisis, were forced to sell their assets by administrators.

Retail mogul Kevin Stanford, who bought the fashion brand in 2003, also holds a “Z-share” in the business – a position that could net him 50 per cent of the value of the transaction.

All Saints has more than 60 stores and almost 50 concessions across the UK, Europe, America and Russia.